Accidental email causes Google to lose US$22 billion in value


Some of us may know the feeling of sending an email or a text message to the wrong person or at the wrong time—and like any action, it has a consequence. However big or small those consequences are, it wasn’t as big of a consequence as this one, which cost Google US$22 billion in value. The email to the US stock market authorities revealed that the company’s latest quarterly results were far below Wall Street’s demanding expectations. The stock tumbled 9% before trading Google shares was suspended, and when it resumed, it recovered slightly to go down 8%.

The inadvertent—and clearly unfinished—financial release began with the words “PENDING LARRY QUOTE”—referring to the company’s chief executive, Larry Page, whose job, normally, would be to put the best gloss on the financial figures. Compounding the situation was the fact that Google’s figures missed expected profits and a showed a big slowdown in revenue growth for its main search engine advertising business. The company had little choice but to suspend trading in its nosediving shares.

However, that doesn’t mean Google is necessarily done for—far from it, in fact. According to Clark Fredericksen, vice-president of eMarketer, which tracks the online advertising business, “Despite the setback, I feel that Google is in a strong position because of its underlying strength.”

“The company now holds the largest more revenue than any other company in the US search, display and mobile advertising markets, respectively–and the company’s market share in each category is expected to grow in the coming years. Particularly in the mobile arena, Google holds a commanding lead over all other players, taking home more than half of all US mobile ad revenues. The nearest competitor, Pandora, takes home less than 10% of the market,” Fredericksen continued.

This year has been quite tough for tech giants, with Facebook’s IPO falling flat and Apple’s iPhone 5’s Map application coming under heavy criticism for its poor design.